A surprisingly slow start to the summer transfer window means that new Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has yet to make his first signing at the Old Trafford helm.
After seeing no less than 11 players depart the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ already this summer, fresh faces are of course inevitable – with United heavily linked with the likes of Ajax’s Anthony and Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong, among others.
While he waits for the club’s deal brokers to work their magic in the transfer market, the 52-year-old Dutchman has had plenty of time to implement his methods into United’s new-look training sessions.
There may not be any blockbuster signings arriving at Carrington for the first day of pre-season training on Monday, but the existing Red Devils squad can expect high-intensity drills aimed at improving the slickness of their passing.
According to a report from The Mirror, Ten Hag has already ordered the ground staff at United’s training complex to trim the grass to a maximum height of 15mm to provide the optimum conditions for players to quickly get up to speed with the style that their new manager wants them to adopt.
Following an initial two-day period to assess the squad’s physical condition, Ten Hag is expected to swiftly introduce regular double sessions for United’s stars.
“Ten Hag is all about training the brain,” revealed a source for the Mirror. “United’s players will do plenty of running – but they will run with the ball rather than just being asked to sprint up sand dunes.”
The changes under Ten Hag won’t end on the training pitch, either, as the former Ajax boss is reportedly set to insist that the squad dine together – a throwback to the reign of Sir Alex Ferguson.
The legendary Scotsman was a big believer in building team unity by having his players eat as a group after training. Since Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, though, that tradition is said to have gradually faded away.
Over the last few years, United’s biggest names have become used to fueling up in the staff restaurant whenever they felt like it – or even heading home to eat after a training session.
It seems dining options will be a lot less flexible under Ten Hag’s rule, with meal times having been identified as a key opportunity to strengthen relationships within the United squad through social interaction. The man himself is also set to dine with his players.
The Ten Hag era has well and truly begun. Regardless of whether he can achieve the success he desires on the pitch in the new season, life behind the scenes at Old Trafford looks set to change noticeably.